Kiss Me First is (unlike the name suggests) a gripping dark thriller about Leila a sheltered, socially inept young woman who spends most of her time on the internet having no "real" life especially since her mothers death.
She joins an online forum where rationalists and "elite thinkers" log in to discuss various issues. The site is run by the charismatic Adrian who approaches Leila and asks her if she will take over the online persona of Tess a woman who wants to commit suicide but not cause pain to any of her family and friends. Leila (strangely) agrees and she and Tess concoct a plan whereby Leila posts emails and Facebook updates pretending that Tess has emigrated. The concept of the story is certainly an interesting one, and raises questions about social media, and how we portray ourselves online and our so called online friends.
Leila is an unlikeable protagonist (this seems to be a pattern in the books I'm reading lately) although vulnerable she has zero empathy for anyone around her and often talks as though she feels superior at the same time being very naive to social norms. I can't warm to someone who has no empathy and did find myself getting annoyed by her, but the story was compelling enough for it not to put me off.
One thing that sparked my interest was that Tess had bipolar disorder, I'm often apprehensive of characters with the illness, and am extra critical of their portrayal- I often fear that it will go down the path of sensationalising the illness (or indeed any mental illness) to aid story, or create the cliched "crazy" persona. I did feel that this part of the book was handled well, and of all the characters I found Tess the most likeable and in some ways relateable.
"I think I'm too sensitive for this world. Do you know what I mean?"
I think this is what I enjoyed most from the book- although a lot of the characters weren't that nice, they rang true and seemed very human. It annoyed me a little that Leila was described as "fat" and unattractive and for that reason was often the subject of ridicule even when there was no call for it- I think this was fuelled by the fact that it was exactly the same with the main character in the last book I read (The Girl on the Train.)
I really didn't know where the story would lead and there was no big finale to it, in fact the ending was a let down. After a fairly intense read the ending didn't really go anywhere it just happened, and for me left too many things hanging.
Ending aside I thought this was a well written and gripping read full of interesting and flawed characters. If you like dark thrillers that give you a little food for thought then I'd recommend picking this up.
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The Avengers: Age of Ultron is out this week (does a happy dance) and I thought this would be the perfect time to post about my Shiro Cosmetics loose eyeshadows from their The Earth's Mightiest Heroes Collection. Shiro Cosmetics are an indie make up brand in Portland, U.S.A who make vegan, cruelty free hand blended eyeshadows with a nerdy twist.
Altogether their Avengers collection has 10 beautiful shades which all feature original artwork and cool names. I got a full size pot of I Understood That Reference, featuring Captain America on the front. I couldn't resist this beautiful bluish- purple shade that has tiny flecks of white sparkle. I also got a full pot of Cognitive Recalibration (partly becuase it's Hawkeye...) but it also happens to be a lovely duo chrome reddish- purple with blue sparkles. As well as that I got a sample pot of That Man is Playing Galaga (love this name!) which is a pure black with fine rainbow glitter. Seriously- this shade is stunning and my picture doesn't give it justice.
All the shadows are silky soft and easy to blend with brilliant pigmentation. I love how they are presented in sturdy pots with the super cool artwork. I would definitely recommend checking them out and can't fault their service.
The Girl On The Train is one of many dark thrillers released since Gone Girl that bears the inevitable tag of "the new Gone Girl!" Don't get me wrong, I love that book, but stop with the comparisons!
The Girl On The Train is full of horrible people. There's not a single character in this book who has any redeeming features, which made it, at times a frustrating read. But at the same time I found it strangely fascinating, seeing just how low the characters would stoop.
The book centres on Rachel, an alcoholic and unhappily divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees every morning as she passes on the train. Then the news reveals the woman has gone missing, and Rachel decides she must find out what's happened.
The book is written in first person, but through three different characters viewpoints- Rachel, the missing woman, and Anna the wife of Rachel's ex-husband. The story is fairly slow paced, at least for the first half. Usually I'm not a fan of slow moving thrillers, but with this one I got a strange enjoyment out of reading these characters descents.
I saw the final twist coming a mile off, but I felt Hawkins still captured the suspense well enough that I wasn't groaning when it was revealed. I also really enjoyed Hawkins writing style, there was an honest edge to it that gave particularly Rachel's character depth, that I found myself shocked but also compelled. As well as being a murder mystery it was also about these characters lives spiralling out of control.
"The sense of shame I feel about an incident is proportionate not just to the gravity of the situation, but also to the number of people who have witnessed it."
Overall I enjoyed this book, and would recommend if you like a good dark thriller. If, like me you are partial to appalling characters then I'd particularly recommend picking this up!
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Today's post is a 'how cool is my new bag' kind of post...
When I was a kid I became obsessed with re runs of old TV shows like The Addams Family, I Dream of Genie, Batman, and my favourite: The Munsters! My favourite character was the badass Lily Munster- I used to love her (and want her hair), and to this day she is still a bit of a hero of mine. So when I saw this bag on ebay I didn't hesitate in buying it. It's from the brand Rock Rebel and is very well made, the lining is Beetlejuice-esque black and white stripes, it's very roomy and I love it!
Find more Lily Munster on my blog here!
The ebay seller I bought it from is Violent Delights.
You've probably heard of the book Still Alice- or at least the film which recently won an oscar for Julianne Moore in her portrayal of Alice. Alice is a fifty year old successful professor of linguistics at Harvard, regarded as an expert in her field. She is happily married and is a mother to three grown up kids. Then she starts to forget things. Little things at first, but they soon become more noticeable, and when on a walk near her home she suddenly gets lost and forgets where she is, she goes to the doctor.
She gets the shock diagnosis that she has early- onset Alzheimer's disease. This is a story of how she copes with her diagnosis and progressing illness and also how the people around her deal with it.
The book is written in third person, but from Alice's perspective. So when she becomes disorientated or forgetful the reader is right there with her. It's sometimes difficult to read about her slow decline, and the loss of her ability to do the things she loves like teaching, reading, and eventually following conversations and going out alone. What shines through is Alice's optimism ever present that she will not loose herself, desperately clinging onto her self identity.
"Is the part of my brain that's responsible for my unique 'me-ness' vulnerable to this disease? Or is my identity something that transcends neurons, proteins, and defective molecules of DNA? Is my soul and spirit immune to the ravages of Alzheimer's? I believe it is."
Still Alice was definitely an emotional read, there were some parts that did bring a tear to my eye, but what was very clear was that every single detail of this book had been researched to give a true account of someone with Alzheimer's. Genova herself has a ph.D in neuroscience, and worked with many experts and people with the disease to give a true portrayal.
I thought Alice was a likeable protagonist, but I must admit there were times I really did not like her family. Their reactions and they way they dealt with the diagnosis really annoyed me! Aside from Alice's younger daughter (who was a very likeable character) her other two kids, when she revealed her illness, seemed more concerned about whether it meant they'd get it. I also found it hard to understand her husbands actions a lot of the time too. An enjoyable aspect of the book, though was the growing relationship between Alice and her once distant youngest daughter Lydia.
There is so much more I could talk about, but then this review would go on forever! Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an emotional, but beautiful story which has given me a whole new understanding of Alzheimer's disease. On Goodreads I gave it 4 stars out of 5 and wholeheartedly recommend it. Now I definitely want to watch the film...
Etude House Give Me Chocolate Shadow £6.00 here
Who is the Doctor horror style T-Shirt £11.99 here
Pastel long wig £7.99 here
Sunnydale High School pin badge £1.99 here
Etude House Princess Happy Ending Glitter eyeshadow £6.12 here
Bride of Frankenstein bag £32.99 here
Sometimes doing these Ebay posts are dangerous- they make me want to buy everything! I am in love with the Bride of Frankenstein bag, and I've just bought the Lily Munster version from the same seller :) Yay for no money but having cool bags!